Jul. 25, 2018


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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

House Asks Attorney General to Investigate State Data Breaches
With news breaking last week of a security breach at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and a previous breach at the Department of Human Services, the House has asked the Office of Attorney General to investigate.

Since then, it has also come to light that personal information of nearly 13,000 personnel and inmates within the state Department of Corrections may have been compromised in recent weeks.

The House has asked the attorney general to investigate whether Pennsylvanians’ vital personal information was exposed during the Department of Health breach in late June.

In addition to the call for an investigation, the House passed two bills this session dealing with data security and informing the public of possible breaches.

House Bill 1846 would require notice within 45 days to Pennsylvania residents when there is a breach of security in plain language and must include the date of the breach and the toll-free numbers to credit reporting agencies.
House Bill 1847 would amend the Credit Reporting Agency Act to waive the current $10 fee to freeze credit reports and would provide consumers with three months of free credit monitoring following a data breach and three free credit reports for one calendar year after the breach.


Out and About in the District

Two absolutely terrific friends and tireless supporters of the region were named Community Members of the Year. The Judge James Rutherford Community Service Award was presented to Donna and Jim LaBar. The award is jointly given by the Wayne County Bar Association and the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary in recognition of outstanding community service.

Because legislative obligations kept me in Harrisburg, I was truly pleased that my wife, Donna, was happy and willing to present a citation from the House of Representatives to Jim and Donna on behalf of Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Pike/Wayne) and myself.

On July 12, I participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Forest City Family Health Center at 100 Dundaff St. This office will be a part of the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers. Pictured (from left) are Peter Rodgers, board chairman; Fred Jackson, executive director; me; and David Hoff, CEO.

Congratulations to Alyse Kerr and her colleagues at Integrative Counseling Services on their facility grand opening in New Milford.
 

Credit Card Skimming Becomes a Crime
State law now includes criminal penalties for those who steal personal and financial data by skimming the information from credit cards that are used at such places as automatic teller machines (ATMs) or self-pay gas pumps.

Until Act 60 of 2018, possessing these devices was not illegal, even though they have no use other than for criminal, deceitful and deceptive purposes. Anyone convicted of using or possessing a scanning or skimming device now faces a third-degree felony for a first offense and a second-degree felony for a second or subsequent offense.

This new law brings Pennsylvania in line with 30 other states that have enacted similar legislation. It takes effect in late August.
 

Preventing Double Taxation on Mobile Devices
Legislation to prevent the state from collecting double taxes from mobile telecommunications consumers is now law.

Act 52 of 2018 excludes the sales of telephones, telephone handsets, modems, tablets and related accessories, including cases, chargers, holsters, clips, hands-free devices, screen protectors and batteries, from being subject to the Gross Receipts Tax. Those devices are already subject to the 6 percent Sales and Use Tax.

The change is needed because the Commonwealth had not updated its definition of mobile telecommunication since 2002.

The new law clarifies the definition of what is subject to the Gross Receipts Tax and is subject to the Sales and Use Tax. Updating these definitions further protects consumers from bureaucratic overreach.
 

Persian Gulf Veterans Bonus Deadline is Aug. 31
Veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, are reminded they have until Aug. 31, 2018, to apply for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’ Bonus.

The bonus pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, an additional $5,000 is available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

To qualify, the service member must have:
• Served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard.
• Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the period from Aug. 2, 1990, to Aug. 31, 1991, and received the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
• Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service.
• Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty.

Since 2008, more than 9,000 Persian Gulf Conflict veterans have applied for and received a bonus for their war efforts. Individuals who received a bonus or similar compensation from any other state are not eligible for the Pennsylvania program.

For more information about how to apply, click here.
 
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Office Locations
16501 State Route 706, Suite 2, Montrose, PA 18801 | Phone: 570-278-3374 
32 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Honesdale, PA 18431 | 570-253-5533
414 Irvis Office, PO Box 202111, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Email Address: JFritz@pahousegop.com
 
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